Trump joins TikTok, the app he tried to ban as president

Donald Trump joined the popular video sharing app TikToka platform that he already tried to ban while he was in the White House and published for a UFC fight two days after he became the first former president and presumptive major party nominee in U.S. history to be convicted of crimes.

“It’s an honor,” Trump said in the TikTok video, which features footage of him greeting fans and posing for selfies during the Ultimate Fighting Championship fight in Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday night. The video ends with Trump saying to the camera, “That was a good scene, wasn’t it?” »

As of Sunday morning, Trump had amassed more than 1.1 million followers on the platform and his post had garnered more than a million likes and 24 million views.

“We will leave no front undefended and this represents continued outreach to younger audiences consuming pro-Trump and anti-Biden content,” Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung said in a statement about of the campaign’s decision to join the platform.

“There is no better place than a UFC event to launch President Trump’s TikTok, where he received a hero’s welcome and thousands of fans cheered him on,” he said. he adds.

Democratic President Joe Biden signed legislation in April could ban TikTok in the United States, even as it joined its campaign in February and attempted to work with influencers.

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Trump received a rousing reception during the fight at the Prudential Center in Newark, where the crowd chanted “We love Trump!” ” and another insulting Biden with an expletive.

It was Trump’s first public outing since a jury in New York. found him guilty on Thursday on 34 charges of falsifying business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election by concealing hush money payments made to a porn actor who claimed she and Trump had sex. Trump has maintained he did nothing wrong and plans to appeal the verdict. He will be sentenced on July 11.

Throughout his campaign, Trump used appearances during UFC fights project an image of strength and try to attract potential voters who do not follow politics closely or engage with traditional news sources. It’s also part of a broader effort to connect with young and minority voters, particularly Latino and black men.

TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, is another opportunity to reach these potential voters. The platform has about 170 million users in the United States, most of whom are younger — a demographic that is particularly difficult for campaigns to reach because they avoid television.

As president, Trump tried to ban TikTok by a decree which said that “the distribution in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned” by Chinese companies constituted a threat to national security. Courts blocked the action after TikTok sued.

Both FBI and Federal Communications Commission have warned that ByteDance could share user data such as browsing history, location and biometric identifiers with the Chinese government. TikTok said it has never done this and would not do it, if asked.

The platform has been a hot topic of debate during the 2024 GOP primary campaign, with most candidates avoiding its use. Many, including former Vice President Mike Pence, have called for TikTok to be banned in the United States because of its ties to China.

Asset said earlier this year that he still believed TikTok posed a national security risk, but opposed banning it because it would help its rival, Facebook, which it continues to criticize following its 2020 election loss to Biden.

“Honestly, there are a lot of people on TikTok who love it. There are a lot of young kids on TikTok who would go crazy without it,” Trump told CNBC.

The legislation signed by Biden gives ByteDance nine months to sell the company, with an additional three months possible if a sale is pending. If not, TikTok will be banned. Biden banned the app on most government devices in December 2022.

Her reelection campaign nonetheless uses the app, which she joined on Super Bowl night in February. Aides says that in an increasingly fragmented modern media environment, the campaign must deliver its message to voters through as many platforms as possible, including TikTok as well as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Biden’s “bidenhq” account currently has over 330,000 followers and 4.5 million likes.

Trump’s appearance at Saturday’s fight came after he sat down for an interview with Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends Weekend” that aired Sunday.

During that appearance, Trump said he was “okay” with the prospect of possible prison time or house arrest, saying that’s “the way it is.”

But he again suggested that the public might not accept such punishment for a former president who is now running to return to the White House.

“I don’t know if the public would stand for it, you know. I’m not sure the public would accept it,” he said. “I think it would be difficult for the public to accept. You know, at some point there’s a breaking point.

Asset, as he did throughout the trialmaintained his innocence, saying he “did absolutely nothing wrong.”

He was asked how his wife, former first lady Melania Trump, took the news.

“She’s fine. But I think it’s very hard for her. I mean, she’s fine. But you know, she has to read all this crap,” he said.

She did not appear with Trump in court at any time during his seven-week trial.


Colvin reported from Annapolis, Maryland, Weissert from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and Kinnard from Chapin, South Carolina.

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